The American Bakers Association (ABA) has focused its efforts on helping the nation’s baking industry thrive since its founding in 1897. In its 126th year, the organization continues to seek out ways to improve and innovate on how it delivers value for its members. That dedication to innovation has been applied to the ABA’s 2023 Convention. The event (scheduled March 26–29 in Amelia Island, FL) will see a lot of new show features, new networking opportunities, and even a new association leader.

To learn more about what the 2023 Convention has in store for attendees, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery spoke to several ABA leaders to get their perspective on what’s new, and why the gathering would be time well spent for bakery professionals.

  • Eric Dell, president and CEO
  • Christina Donnelly, director of industry relations and strategic initiatives
  • Cordia Harrington, ABA chair; CEO of Crown Bakeries
  • Samantha Moore, senior director, meetings and education

Jenni Spinner: Could you please talk about some of the changes to this year’s program, and why they’re beneficial to attendees? 

Cordia Harrington: ABA’s 2023 Convention is on track to have the highest attendance ever at an ABA Convention. The new schedule promises to maximize our convention experience with great take home value. The keynote speakers will enlighten us, and the networking events will offer the right setting to get business done. I look forward to seeing everyone at the beautiful Ritz Amelia Island this March.

Samantha Moore: The executive roundtable discussions started during the pandemic when the 2021 Convention went virtual. The virtual discussions were so successful, we added them to the 2022 Convention program and brought them back and doubled them in 2023. They will be led by subject matter experts and cover key topics like supply chain, workforce, and ESG (environmental, social, governance).  

JS: Are there any business sessions or speakers you would like to highlight? If so, please share and why you think they’re particularly worth attendees’ time and attention. 

Christina Donnelly: We have a dynamic lineup of experts who will be sharing their innovative insights at ABA 2023 Convention. One session, A New Approach to Supporting Refugees, will examine how the baking industry can support refugees through business solutions. Expert Scarlet Cronin will explain how companies can engage refugees as potential employees, entrepreneurs, and consumers.

Another can’t-miss session is Taking a Boundaryless Approach to the Consumer. Led by IRI Principal, Jonna Parker, this panel will include Instacart, Nestle Coffee Partners, and Bimbo Bakeries USA exploring the ways in which digital is revolutionizing finding and buying products. Attendees will get a better understanding of how to enhance their presence in all retail settings to reach the shopper in the omnichannel world of today.

I highly recommend browsing the 2023 ABA Convention schedule to read more about the sessions and the featured speakers.

JS: Similarly, which social/networking events would you like to spotlight to potential attendees? 

SM: At the 2023 Convention, there will be more opportunities than ever before to form new—and strengthen existing—connections. Monday and Tuesday mornings will begin with a networking breakfast with no presentations, so you can catch up and get ready for the day's activities. While we will have attendees’ favorite sports, Golf and Tennis, this year we are introducing the first-ever Corn Hole Tournament. On Tuesday afternoon, attendees can enjoy the Florida sunshine while competing for fun prizes. All attendees are encouraged to attend either as a player or a spectator to cheer on the teams before wrapping up the day with the new Dine Around Dinners.

JS: Is there anything you’d like to add? 

Eric Dell: This will be my first ABA Convention, and I’m excited to meet more of the baking industry’s dynamic community of leaders. I can’t wait to listen to members to get to know them personally and gain a deeper understanding of their challenges, share my vision to position and strengthen ABA and the baking industry, and have some fun on the tennis court and at the Cornhole Tournament. See you soon!”


Sunday, March 26

6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

 - Registration Open

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

 - New Attendee and NextGenBaker Brunch

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 - Business Session: The Future of Innovation

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 - Executive Roundtables

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

 - Millers’ Welcome Reception

Monday, March 27

7:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.

 - Registration Open

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

 - Networking Breakfast

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

 - Business Session

10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

 - Business Session

12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 - “Bakers Give Back” Community Service Event and Networking Luncheon

1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

  - ABA Golf Tournament

3:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

 - ABA Tennis Tournament

6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

 - Women in Bakery

Tuesday, March 28

7:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

 - Registration Open

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

 - Networking Breakfast

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

 - Business Session

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

 - Networking Luncheon

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

 - Executive Roundtables

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

 - Beach Cornhole Tournament

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

 - Reception

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

 - Dine Around Dinners

Wednesday, March 29

7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

 - Get-a-way Breakfast

For a complete schedule or to register, visit the 2023 Convention site.